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Olympia hires Renee Sunde as city’s first economic development director

Olympia has hired Renee Sunde as the city’s first economic development director.

Sunde served as deputy director of the Thurston County Economic Development Council for the past 10 years. She is expected to start in her new position July 1.

Sunde was selected after a nationwide search that generated about 50 applicants. The position is part of an overall effort to create a sustainable budget and raise revenue, according to the city. The director will focus on downtown retail strategy, work with private investors on development partnerships, and help nurture major employers such as the Olympia Auto Mall, Capital Mall, the medical sector and state government.

City Manager Steve Hall said Sunde will be a good fit for Olympia because she understands the local area and business climate. Sunde will earn a salary of about $96,300 a year plus benefits.

“She’s very savvy about how we do things in this community,” Hall told The Olympian, noting that the city has never had a position solely dedicated to economic development. “Her job is to help us maintain our employee base and tax base and to grow that.”

In a news release, Sunde wrote that she is excited about the opportunity to join the city.

“During my time with the EDC, I have worked to build strong relationships with both small and corporate employers throughout Thurston County,” she said. “It is through effective community partnerships that we are able to build a vibrant community.”

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